Home—What does this word mean to you? For you and me, home is comfort, security, stability and love. Home is childhood memories of playing in the back yard and our sloppy family portraits displayed proudly on the refrigerator door.

But for Linda, home was fear, vulnerability, neglect and uncertainty. Home was sleeping with the lights on, because you didn’t know if mom’s new boyfriend would creep in at night just like the last; and avoiding every mirror throughout the house because you couldn’t stand your reflection anymore.

Linda’s reality was one that many Sunrise children face. At 15 years old, she was the adult of her household. Linda tried to nurture her mother back to health after every binge and relapse, all the while dismissing her own emotional needs.

In April 2015, Linda was admitted to Sunrise Children’s Services residential facility, Glen Dale, in Elizabethtown.

When Linda arrived at Glen Dale, her toolbox was empty. Coping with aggression and sadness were drastic burdens before, often leading to acts of self-harm and emotional outbursts. Countless occurrences of sexual abuse caused Linda to turn to anorexia for support. In Linda’s eyes, her body was impure and unlovable.

At Sunrise, the implementation of routine combined with therapy began to rebuild Linda’s emotional foundation. Her toolbox began to overflow with healthy coping skills and a reformed self-esteem.

Every morning when Linda woke up, she would look at her reflection in the mirror through tear-filled eyes and say, “You are beautiful.” She was finally beginning to believe it.

In December 2015, Linda had successfully completed the therapy program at Glen Dale and was discharged to a foster family. At night when she lays in her bed, tucked in with love, compassion and safety, Linda smiles to herself because she knows she is finally home.

Written by Karlee Brewer, marketing and advancement associate for Sunrise

Jake Pelfrey